We were in our last house just over three years. Not a long time by any means but long enough to see other families come and go.
The neighborhood we lived in was a mixture of empty nesters and young families—homes turning over as older couples helped their grown children move out and younger couples welcomed babies of their own.
Only after moving to Hudson have I realized how differently I wish I had welcomed new neighbors.
When we lived in Centerville and new neighbors arrived, I assumed they were moving from within the area (like we had) or had moved because they had family nearby. I figured they already had connections and knew where the good pizza places were.
We’d introduce ourselves to new neighbors when we bumped into them on a walk or while the kids were outside playing. We’d make small talk and tell them welcome to the neighborhood.
Being on the other side of this situation has flipped my perspective and changed how I will greet new neighbors in the future.
We moved to Hudson at the end of July and by the end of August we had yet to meet any young families. I was feeling particularly sorry for myself one morning, thinking about all the good friends we’d left behind, and as the kids and I left for a walk I said a quick prayer for more opportunities to feel connected to this area.
About ten minutes into our walk I saw two moms in a backyard with a playset. A cozy coupe sat on the driveway and toddlers ran around.
“Well, this is it,” I thought. A big, “Here ya go. Here are some young families. Quit feeling sorry for yourself,” sign.
But the moms couldn’t see me from the street, so in order to meet them, I’d have to go up and introduce ourselves.
I know most of the time golden tickets don’t just fall into laps. You have to meet those chance moments and prayer requests halfway. So, with a racing heart and sweaty palms, I turned the stroller up a stranger’s driveway and marched to the top with the kids.
“Hello!,” I called out. They said hi, smiled, and walked over. “We just moved in and I thought I’d introduce ourselves.”
They were nice and have kids around the same ages as Garrett and Laine. We made small talk and when my kids started to get antsy in the stroller I knew it was time for us to keep moving. They both told me welcome to the neighborhood and we said goodbye.
As I walked away I was wishing they had given me their phone numbers or asked me for mine. I had already rolled up into their yard and crashed their playdate, I wasn’t about to ask for their numbers too.
Desperate new neighbor here! We know NO ONE within a two-hour radius. Give me your phone numbers. Let’s be best friends.
So, the kids and I kept walking with no way to get in touch with these people, aside from showing up at their doorstep uninvited (again).
That was a month and a half ago. I haven’t seen either of those ladies or their kids since.
We’ve been pushing forward and grabbing hold of new opportunities and meeting other young families, but it is a continual effort of putting ourselves out there. Despite the challenge of starting over in a new community with young kids, I am grateful for the shift in perspective this move has provided.
The house next door to us has been for sale since we’ve moved in and I’ve been praying that a nice, young family will move in. (And that they will have kids the same ages as Garrett and Laine, will love sports, enjoy a strong drink, not be offended by the occasional swear word, and know how to play euchre like good Midwesterns. Bonus points if one of their families has a lake or beach house they like to invite new friends to. Speak it into existence).
While I don’t know who will move into that house, I do know whenever they show up I’m not going to wait to bump into them to say hello. I’m going to walk over and ring their doorbell, take them some banana bread or cookies, leave my name and phone number on a post-it, and only then will I say welcome to the neighborhood.